In his new album, The Sun, The Moon, The Stars, The Sea, Michael Barry covers all the bases, and all from the recording studio in his home in Canada. Barry’s lyrics and sound are ethereal, floating from land to sky and day to night, as the album title hints. Read on to find out more about the talented artist’s new release, and why he is drawn toward creating a story easily accessible to all ears.
- What is your first musical memory?
The day my eldest brother got his first acoustic guitar⎯in the mail! It was a very small six-string acoustic that my mother had ordered from a catalog. It was a dark, wet winter's morning and we were all in awe of this strange musical thing that the postman had delivered. Not the most elegant of guitars but it was crucial for my musical development and my brothers’. It was always lying around the house so I used to listen to the radio and try to play along, finding the notes and attempting to stay in tune. Later, I reduced it to just four strings to learn to play bass guitar after reading that's exactly how Roger Glover had learned as a kid too.
- What was the first concert you ever went to?
Thin Lizzy on their farewell tour. I had just started to get into their music when they announced they were packing it in. They had just released the Thunder and Lightning CD to really strong reviews. I was literally out of my skin with excitement – we were not that far from the stage and I remember just being blown away by the sheer volume and by the fact that I was in the same space as my idols.
- What or whom do you go to for musical inspiration?
New music that is fresh and innovative is always inspiring. A great voice can move mountains in my opinion and that is what my ear is usually drawn to. A new way of manipulating sound can be a great motivator for trying something new in the studio.
- Without using the words "alternative," "pop,” or "rock," describe your sound.
I play all the instruments myself and record everything at home, but my goal is to make music that doesn't reflect that. I am always trying to make a full band sound. Growing up, I listened to a lot of West Coast rock and pop and just learned to love the quality of the musicianship and recordings. I'm always striving for quality in both those disciplines. Regarding songwriting, the goal is tell a story, whether it be about me or not, that everyone can connect with. The language I use is as everyday as I can make it, the imagery too. Anything too poetic and lyrical usually gets discarded pretty quickly.
- Stones or Beatles?
Hands down The Beatles. The number of massive hits they created in the short time frame that they did, is unbelievable. And, so often, the music was so simple.
- What's your dream collaboration?
To sing in front of this trio would be awesome: Drums – Manu Katche. Bass – Larry Klein. Guitar – The Edge. Produced by Daniel Lanois, of course. They are all masters in their fields and while I have no idea exactly what sound would be created, I'm pretty sure it would be quite magical. They all have shown such ability to create music with space combined with real power.
- Do you find the song or does the song find you?
For lyrics, I find that they come to me quite easily, sometimes completely involuntarily. Whether or not the words need further editing is another issue, however. For music, it's all very consciously planned out for me. It is work, work, work. I was never trained on any of the instruments that I play, so it can be quite challenging. If I was able to do it all again, I would definitely learn to read music.
- How do you discover new music
Wherever I can find it. I am always listening to music wherever I go in the hopes I can catch something new and unknown. I've bought many a CD after catching just one track that I heard in a restaurant, bookstore or just out and about.